LONDON (AP) — Lawyers for victims of sex offender Jeffrey Epstein say Britain’s Prince Andrew should speak to U.S. investigators immediately, after the prince withdrew from royal duties over what he called his “ill-judged association” with the convicted pedophile.
U.S. attorney Gloria Allred said Andrew should contact American authorities “without conditions and without delay."
Andrew announced Wednesday he was pulling out of public duties “for the foreseeable future” amid a firestorm of criticism over his friendship with Epstein. In a statement, he said he was "willing to help any appropriate law enforcement agency with their investigations, if required."
Allred said the 59-year-old prince needed to be clearer.
"Is he insisting that he be served with a subpoena to testify, or is he willing to speak to law enforcement without being legally required to do so?” she said on the BBC.
Lisa Bloom, Allred’s daughter and another lawyer for Epstein’s victims, tweeted that Andrew “and his staff must cooperate with all investigations, show up for civil depositions and trials, and produce all documents."
Businesses, charities and educational institutions affiliated with Andrew’s charitable work began distancing themselves from him after he gave an ill-judged interview with the BBC last week justifying his long friendship with Epstein, who died in August while in jail on sex-trafficking charges. His death was ruled a suicide by New York’s medical examiner.
In the interview, Andrew denied having sex with a woman who says she was trafficked by the billionaire financier and had sex with Andrew when she was 17.
But the prince failed to express any sympathy for Epstein’s victims. And he defended his previous friendship with the billionaire investor because of the contacts it provided when he was preparing for a role as Britain's special trade representative.
The scandal has bloomed into the biggest challenge for Britain’s monarchy since the 1997 death of Princess Diana, when Queen Elizabeth II was accused of appearing aloof and out of touch amid an outpouring of national mourning.
Andrew’s decision to withdraw from public life — unprecedented for a royal in recent decades — came after he consulted his mother, the 93-year-old monarch.